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Microsoft said in a blog post that the hacking group, known as Nobelium, had targeted over 150 organizations worldwide in the last week including government agencies, think tanks, consultants, and non-governmental organizations.
They sent phishing emails – spoof messages designed to trick people into handing over sensitive information or downloading harmful software – to more than 3,000 email accounts, the tech giant said.
At least 25% of the targeted organizations are involved in international development, humanitarian, and human rights work, wrote Tom Burt, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of customer security and trust.
“These attacks appear to be a continuation of multiple efforts by Nobelium to target government agencies involved in foreign policy as part of intelligence gathering efforts,” said Burt.
Organizations across at least 24 countries were targeted, Microsoft said, with the U.S. receiving the largest share of attacks.
The breach has been discovered three weeks before President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva.
It also comes a month after the U.S. government explicitly said that the SolarWinds hack was carried